Charging Ahead with Wireless Solutions


WIRELESS WONDER: Outside the entrance to Portsmouth Technopole is the QiConnect team, with the firm’s managing director, Peter Turner, front left and Stephen Brownlie, the Technopole’s senior centre manager, front right. They are displaying furniture which, through QiConnect, wirelessly charges smartphones, small tablets and other compatible electronic devices, easing the frustration for millions of us who experience the problem of batteries dying on the move because no plug-in power source is available. QiConnect is the latest occupier to take space at the Technopole, which supports 42 companies and organisations, as well as 26 virtual firms. Occupancy is 97%, a record high.


A start-up company at Portsmouth Technopole is set to revolutionise the way millions of us charge up our mobile devices – ending the daily worry of the battery dying on us while we’re out and about.

Scores of companies and organisations have already expressed interest in QiConnect’s wireless charging solutions following five years of industry research and development.

The innovative work will see QiConnect’s charging stations rolled out in shopping centres, airports, hospitals, universities, hotels, vessels, bars, clubs, cafes and offices – anywhere where there is suitable furniture which allows the embedding of voltage-producing magnetic induction devices.

Founded by technology entrepreneur Peter Turner, QiConnect is the latest company to sign up to space at Portsmouth Technopole, a thriving ‘Dragons’ Den’ Innovation centre with nearly 175 people on site.

With a full-time staff of five, the UK’s first wireless charging expert took a licence on a 52 sq m (562 sq ft) office at the innovation hub, which is by the M275 city gateway.

Peter, 61, from Cosham in Portsmouth, also runs two dovetailing companies – TestTech Global, a software and hardware testing firm, and Portable-Backup, which specialises in portable power solutions.

He said: “It’s somewhat ironic that, despite our digital age, there is no everywhere battery-charging infrastructure in the UK for mobile devices.

“That will change, much to the relief of millions of us who are regularly used to our mobiles dying while out and about, often when you need them most, creating the equivalent of the driving range anxiety people get with electric cars.

“We exhibited at a stand in the Midlands the other week and by mid-afternoon we were inundated with relieved delegates powering up their drained smartphones on our embedded chargers in office furniture and portable charging pads.

“What we offer opened their eyes, and that day alone generated 80 business leads. Scores of businesses and organisations are in talks with us about our wireless charging solutions.

“Just think, it will only be a matter of time before you can go to a coffee shop or pub and place your phone on a pad or table – the phone lights up and automatically charges.”

Peter added: “Being able to charge your smartphone or small tablets just before flying out of the UK would bring air passengers peace of mind following this month’s (July) anti-terrorism ban on uncharged devices on planes.”

The potential is enormous – there are 82.7 million mobile subscriptions in the UK, according to figures from the Mobile Operators Association.

Other industry research shows that two out of every five of us in the UK already work remotely away from the office, using mobile technology, a trend only likely to grow.

QiConnect also has a range of wireless chargers and receivers for mobile phones and devices, including various receivers and covers for mobile phones which enable wireless charging.

Peter added: “‘Our business is taking off now and we’re in the right place at Portsmouth Technopole because it is very much a Dragons’ Den atmosphere here, with energy, creativity, talent, drive and ambition. You can almost feel it crackling in the air, that heady sense of achievement and the art of the possible.”

Stephen Brownlie is the senior centre manager at Portsmouth Technopole, which is run by Oxford Innovation, a specialist in transforming business and innovation centres across England on behalf of landlords or leaseholders.

He said: “Peter and his team at QiConnect join a growing list of switched-on businessmen and women here who are free to focus on with what they do best while we support their office needs, from our own ‘milk fairy’ to the provision of conference rooms, reception, mail and cleaning.

“That we are nearly fully, at 97%, an occupancy rate that stands testament to the strong spirit of enterprise in the Portsmouth region.

“We look forward to welcoming entrepreneurs looking for the right office space, which they can scale up on as their business grows.”

The arrival of QiConnect at the Technopole coincided with figures from the Office for National Statistics that showed unemployment in the UK fell by 121,000 to just over 2.1 million in the three months to May, the lowest level in six years; the economy is also now larger than it was six years ago when the global financial crisis began.

Stephen said: “‘There is definitely a sense of a stronger local economy, based on feedback from our customers – they are all doing well, with some recruiting more staff to meet fresh commercial demand.”

At 1,858 sq m (20,000 sq ft ) Portsmouth Technopole provides state-of-the-art offices and conference facilities for start-ups, early-stage firms and outsourced businesses in a supportive easy-in, easy-out environment, with all-inclusive packages and highly competitive prices.

Other occupiers includes software cloud specialists Support on the Spot, software development specialist AMT Data Technologies and Transalis, a retail software specialist helping thousands of companies trade electronically without the need for paper documentation.

The Technopole is also home to Bladez Toyz Plc, founded by the radio-controlled toys entrepreneur Iain Morgan following a £100,000 investment win on TV business show Tycoon, the brainchild of millionaire businessman Peter Jones of Dragons’ Den fame.

Mandy Haberman officially launched the building, at Kingston Crescent, in 2003 – she invented the award-winning, no-spill Anyway Up cup, which sells up to 60 million units a year globally under licence.

Oxford Innovation operates 21 Business and Innovation Centres, including five-storey Ocean Village Innovation Centre in Southampton, where a new phase of offices has just been opened to meet demand.

How wireless charging works with QiConnect:

A Qi-certified charger provides a cable-free power supply to all mobile devices which are Qi enabled.  The charger will detect a mobile device through magnetic induction. The mobile device itself will also show that it is accepting a charge through its standard on-screen indicator.  When the device is removed, charging automatically stops.